Vincentian British Armed Forces soldier files £300,000 compensation claim against MoD
Zakri Joseph, a Vincentian enrolled in the British Armed Forces
December 23, 2019
Vincentian British Armed Forces soldier files £300,000 compensation claim against MoD

Zakri Joseph, a Vincentian enrolled in the British Armed Forces has launched a £300,000 compensation claim against the Ministry of Defence (MoD), claiming he is suffering from a non-freezing cold injury.

The Salisbury Journal reported on December 18, that Joseph, 35, expects to be medically discharged from the Army soon after developing a condition called non-freezing cold injury through his service.

The information was gathered from a writ issued at London’s High Court and which was made public earlier this month.

Joseph who lives in Paget Close, Tidworth, Wiltshire is originally from Stubbs and is assigned to the 2nd Battalion Mercian Regiment.

He accuses the MoD of failing to warn him that he was more at risk than others of developing the condition, because of his ethnicity.

It is noted that individuals of black and Caribbean heritage are more likely to contract the condition, which can affect them for the rest of their lives.

According to the writ, Joseph is said to have first developed numb feet during basic training at Catterick, but largely recovered from this and continued to serve on several winter tours.

However, in November 2016 he joined Exercise Black Hackle in Scotland, with temperatures plunging to minus six degrees Celsius, on a fortnight’s exercise which involved nights in the field, sleeping under a poncho, and staying in an essentially unheated open hangar.

The writ says that Joseph claims that he was unable to keep his feet dry, and after a couple of days, developed symptoms in his hands and feet. However, he says his platoon sergeant told him to ‘man up’.

And when he complained of his symptoms to a sergeant, he says he was told to stick it out, as the company were facing a review, and it would reflect badly on the company if anyone was sent back to camp.

His condition is said to have worsened when he was sent on a stores course, that saw him sleeping in a six-bed dormitory that was very cold and using cold showers. And although he visited a nearby gym to take his hot showers at his own expense, that didn’t help.

Joseph, says the MoD failed to warn him of his increased vulnerability, because of his ethnicity, or give him extra training, instruction or information.

He says he was given the same equipment as others who were not so vulnerable and accuses the MoD of negligence, in failing to train or instruct his commanders highlighting his vulnerability to non-freezing cold injury.

He also accuses them of failing to provide him with specialist clothing and insulated boots, failing to take him off the exercise when he complained of cold injuries, failing to obtain immediate medical treatment, and returning him to working and exercising in cold conditions.

He says he was also negligently given unsuitable personal protective equipment, and not enough hot food and drinks regularly, which would have reduced the risk of developing the condition.

The writ says the MoD negligently fostered an environment in which NCOs and officers were reluctant to cut short or abort exercises, and discouraged recruits from dropping out of exercises.

Joseph is said to take painkillers regularly to manage his symptoms and is disadvantaged on the open labour market.

Over the years, soldiers attached to the British Army have received compensation for non-freezing cold injury and unconfirmed reports are that Joseph is not the only Vincentian soldier who has filed claims for this injury.

Joseph refused to comment on his case when contacted on Monday.